I finally feel ‘merry’ this year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It’s surprising to say this out loud, but I think I’m more excited about Christmas this year than my girls are.

As parents, we all want to do better for our children. I can remember Christmases past where the presents were stacked tall underneath the Christmas tree. I can also remember one or two holidays where there was a lot of air between the floor and the bottom of the tree.

However, no matter the number of presents, the day was always filled with something special — that one special, chosen-just-for-me present, the dinner at Granny’s house and the gathering around the fireplace to roast marshmallows.

Once I had children, we added the tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve followed by a Christmas day breakfast of hot cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate — and then presents!

I’m not one of those moms who thinks that her child has to get a treat each time we venture into a store, so Christmas is my one time of the year to really spoil my children. And this year, looking under our Christmas tree, I think I may have gone a little bit overboard.

I started shopping early — October to be exact. I would just pick up little things here and there that caught my eye and throw them into the back of closet. I had specific ideas about the big gifts, so when sales came I knew exactly what I was shopping for and how much I wanted to spend — which is a great way to not overspend during any holiday season.

However, what I didn’t take into account was the fact that I should have made a list of all the stuff that I had bought, because when I drug all that stuff out to wrap during the first week of December, I nearly had a heart attack.

After the piles were wrapped, I came to two conclusions — one, I apparently didn’t love my oldest child as much as the others, and two, I had foolishly scoffed at the option of gift-wrapping at the time of purchase.

Both were easily rectifiable aspects of the holiday gift-giving season, and once I achieved equitable present rations among the three girls, a feeling of contentment rose in me.

Ever since then, that contentment is also a feeling that has stayed with me.

“I’m happy,” I told my mother Sunday after an epiphany of sorts, and it was like the happiness was a warm hand in the center of my chest, pushing outward for sharing.

I was happy and excited, not about the number of presents under the tree — although each was chosen with specific care — it was knowing that I had created a special place in both my heart and my world for my family.

It was knowing that I did this — I made this house into a home, these children into a family.

It was about knowing that I was loved and I that I loved; that I had both the means and the will to give not only of myself but also from myself.

It is the first Christmas I can remember, as an adult, feeling secure about my place in the world.

I am happy, and I hope this Christmas season finds you happy, too.